Heroes: Randy Pausch

Recently, I have been very inspired by a video of “last lecture” given by a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Last Lectures typically involve a retiring professor who condenses his or her decades of accumulated wisdom and experience into one final blockbuster talk, but this one is different because the professor, Randy Pausch, is only 46 years old but has terminal cancer: he will be dead in a few months, he tells us, and he will leave behind a wife and three young kids. Pausch’s Last Lecture, on how to achieve your childhood dreams, contains much useful information, but it is his courageous joy and vital energy in the face of a crushing personal fate that has really affected me. It has made me determined to feel more joy in my own daily existence, even the mundane or disappointing parts of it. The video is here – it’s around 90 minutes long, and if you want to skip the intros, just go to the 8 minute marker and start there.

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